New Jeep Compass e-Hybrid 2022 review

Judgment

While Jeep hasn’t gone fully hybrid with the Compass e-Hybrid, it’s an interesting and tempting step in that direction. The Compass itself is now more of a contender in a hugely talented family SUV market with some added Jeep cool too, although this model does without all-wheel drive. Its biggest problem, however, is the strength of the more efficient full-hybrid competition and the offerings available on the likes of the Hyundai Tucson or Kia Sportage. It will be interesting to see if Jeep can react to make the Compass even more competitive.

As if all the different types of hybrids on offer weren’t already confusing enough, Jeep is bringing its latest form of electrification. Dubbed the e-Hybrid, it’s found here in the facelifted Compass as well as the smaller, older Renegade.

Sitting somewhere between a mild hybrid and a full hybrid, the e-Hybrid will run the car purely on electric power, but only at very low speeds and for a few hundred meters if you’re lucky. So it’s more of a hybrid than a mild hybrid, but less of a hybrid than a full hybrid. And of course, Jeep also offers its 4xe plug-in hybrids across its range; they apparently already account for a third of all sales.

Jeep has so far avoided switching to parent company Stellanti’s platforms, developing its own technology for now – although we suspect next year’s first all-electric small Jeep will sit on the oh-so-familiar CMA architecture.

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Much of what’s under the hood is new, however, starting with the 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine and seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. The engine has been chosen for its efficiency and suitability for hybridization, with a belt starter generator installed – as in mild hybrids – to facilitate smooth restarts. The gearbox has an electric motor of 19 horsepower which is located in the transmission housing.

The 0.8kWh 48V battery sits in the central spine of the car, while this is a front-wheel-drive Jeep – there’s no four-wheel-drive option, so ideas about going anywhere in an e-hybrid have to be shelved or you’ll have to buy another version.

Press the start button and while the car comes to life, the engine does not; Jeep calls it Silent Start. Then you enter e-Launch which uses the electric motor to get the car going before the petrol engine quickly jumps in to help.

At very low speeds, e-Creeping uses electric power where a traditional petrol car will creep forward at the tick over, but in stop/start-stop, e-Queueing again means you can continue silently in heavy traffic. Then there’s e-Parking, which uses electricity at parking speeds, plus e-Boosting to provide some extra power if needed when accelerating hard.

Jeep has avoided calling this a “self-charging hybrid,” preferring to say it’s “free from external charging.” In fact, the brakes do a good and well-modulated job of sending power back to the battery – it’s called, you guessed it, e-Braking.

So how does it feel in action? If you’re careful with the throttle, you’ll enjoy the gentle silence of initial acceleration and, yes, in traffic and parking, the electric power can take care of things. But unsurprisingly, it doesn’t take long or with just a slight flex of the right foot for the petrol engine to fire into life. It’s pretty unobtrusive, but there’s a slight judder and judder when the power modes switch – perhaps a software update could smooth things out further.

Sometimes the combination can get a little fuzzy, for example if you’re slowing down for a roundabout and suddenly ask for more power. It arrives quickly, but so does the jolt of confusion when the system thinks you’re going into electric-only power, only for the engine to suddenly engage.

Once on the move, the dual-clutch gearbox is smooth enough, the engine is far from raucous and on the motorway it’s impressively quiet. However, the journey is not as sophisticated. You feel pretty much everything, although the suspension does a reasonable job of smoothing out the worst bumps.

There’s not much excitement from the performance either, despite the electric boost – this Compass lacks a bit of oomph when you really put your foot down, as a 0-62mph time of ten seconds proves. And despite the fine, thick-rimmed steering wheel, the car’s dynamics are also quite stable.

But is all that clever electrification keeping costs down at the pumps or when it comes to VED or company car tax? Jeep says the e-Hybrid will use 15 per cent less fuel than previous petrol versions and outperform similar automatic diesel SUVs – a claimed average of 46.3mpg isn’t bad, while 139g/km CO2 means a company car tax of 32 per cent for the next tax year – both figures slightly behind full hybrid rivals.

While much else has changed with the latest Compass to improve quality and technology, space hasn’t – but that’s no bad thing. Rear space is good – although a third passenger has to put their feet on either side of the tunnel that houses the battery. Boot space is also okay, at 438 litres, meaning the hybrid system has had no effect on practicality.

Our Compass e-Hybrid came in new eco-focused Upland trim, with recycled materials on the seats and dashboard – and the interior feels smart and upmarket. You also get a 10.1-inch infotainment system with all the expected connectivity and remote functions via an app, a digital dashboard display and a range of standard driver safety and assistance features that include Highway Assist – an easy-to-use Level 2 autonomous driving system that combines adaptive cruise and lane keeping assist .

It does, however, come at a premium price of £35,895, which puts the Compass e-Hybrid up against some seriously talented full hybrids such as the Hyundai Tucson and Kia Sportage. If you can part with some of the niceties and recycled kit, the range starts at £32,895 for the exciting Night Eagle version.

Model: Jeep Compass e-Hybrid Upland
Award: £35,895
Engine: 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol plus 0.8kWh battery
Power/Torque: 128bhp/230Nm plus 19bhp/55NM electric motor
Transfer: Seven-speed automatic, front-wheel drive
0-62 mph: 10.0 seconds
Top speed: 120 mph
Economy: 36.3 mpg
CO2: 139g/km
For sale: Now

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